Wasilla’s Cathy Tilton and Chugiak’s Gretchen Wehmhoff are as dissimilar as their parties. Cathy Tilton sticks to a Republican agenda
“I am pro-gun, pro-family and pro-business and I believe that the role of government is not to interfere in our daily lives but to create an environment that allows business to be successful and provide essential services.”
Democrat Gretchen Wehmhoff says she’s people-oriented.
“And I’ve always been involved in my community from Girl Scouts to Arctic Winter Games, and I believe that this is the ultimate community service, to be running for office. I’m pro – people and I believe that we can work with communities and work together to better our state, better our district.”
The two candidates for House 12 faced each other under tv lights on KAKM’s Running series earlier this month.
Tilton has made no secret of her concerns about the budget, especially when it comes to Health and Social Services. She cautions that spiraling Medicaid costs could “bankrupt” the state. She worked with Representative Mark Neuman on the state operating budget last session, focusing on HSS cuts, and recommends weighing the goal of the state’s formula programs against their actual achievements
“What they were doing good, what they weren’t. And then we were able to look at those things and make long term decisions that could give us some long term sustainability in the recommendations that we made in cutting those places.”
Wehmhoff wants to provide better transportation choices for workers, increase educational funding and says she’s worried about housing for state senior citizens.
“I don’t know how much cutting we can do on some programs. Some programs have been cut to the bone. But I do think we need to think about our revenue sources, and how we bring revenue back into the operating budget.”
Tilton has a background in the real estate business, but she touts her legislative staff experience, and campaigned hard in her district to beat her primary opponent in August, taking over 64 percent of the vote.
Wemhoff has little political experience, but has a background in mediation, education and, she says, in the care of an elder family member. On another family note, Wehmhoff is related to Senate F candidate Bill Stoltze by marriage.
School funding, energy and the budget seem to be the top questions this election, but in the Matanuska Valley, fish issues can lead to fighting words.
Wehmhoff says the answer is education.
“We do know, scientifically that a lot of our problems with our fish returning, also has to do with the spawning areas. We have a lot of work to do on educating the public on it’s not just commercial fishing, it’s not just sportfishing, but we need to be aware of where fish are spawning when we are out riding our ATV, you know, where are we crossing streams, are we going down streams.”
Tilton, who advocates state control of halibut management, agrees.
“And what we do need to do is to be able to bring everyone together and, you know, as a consensus builder, someone who can bring those groups together and have them talk with each other to come up with solutions.”
As for campaign spending, Tilton, as of the October 6 Alaska Public Offices Commission report, has raised almost 75 thousand dollars for her run, although 54 thousand of that was for the primary race. Tilton has spent just about 62 thousand of her campaign chest so far. Tilton has contributed heavily to her own campaign.
Wehmhoff, on the other hand, has run her fiscally tight campaign on a shoestring. Wehmhoff has raised just $18,634, spending $15,829 as of last APOC report.